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The Top 7... Mario spin-offs

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4 - Dr. Mario (NES, Game Boy)

Already an unlicensed plumber, Mario apparently thought it was also cool to impersonate a practicing physician. Lucky for us his foray into prescription drugs resulted in one of the most addicting puzzle games of the era. Created in a time when Tetris was the end-all be-all of floaty block games (even more than it is now), Dr. Mario gave us an actual reason to clear the screen - the elimination of multicolored viruses. So, rather than just clearing lines for the sake of clearing lines, you had a visible goal on every level. After matching four pills with a like-colored virus, the remaining colored piece would fall until it hit another piece. This tiny bit of strategy made all the difference at a time when we could have just played a packed-in copy of Tetris.

Versus modes let you toss leftover blocks on the opponents' side, making it a more intense experience when compared to plain ol' Tetris. The addicting gameplay translated perfectly onto the first Game Boy as well, making it one of the first Nintendo games you'd be just as likely to see a grandma playing as you would a hardcore Mario freak.

We'd feel a little silly if we didn't give a shout out to the music, which contains some of the most memorable NES tunes ever. Enjoy...

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15 comments

  • radishboy - May 30, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    GalenMarek: This wasn't really a list of the best mario games ever made, it's just eh best "spin-offs" of mario. Mario Galaxy is definitely one of the best, but i's not really a spin-off, it's a regular contiuation of a mario game. a spin-off is something has to do with mario on some level, (usually just the inclusion of the mario cast and the mario "mushroom kingdom" setting) but the core game mechanics differ greatly from the classic sidescrolling platformer for the 2D games, and the platforming adventure mario 64/sunshine/galaxy type for the 3D titles. Smash brothers brawl doesn't count either, as it's more of a spin-off of every nintendo character, not just mario. tennis isn't something that you would ever do in a "regular" mario game, ever. so a mario game all about tennis would be considered a "spin-off" game, not a true mario game. The idea of a spin-off is to use a set of characters and themes that have already proven to be popular, and use those aspects as a selling point to promote a different idea. if someone made a Tennis game for 64, that played/looked/felt the exact same way as "mario tennis" did, but with normal looking people and courts instead of using mario characters, there's no doubt it would not have sold nearly as well, ya know? a kid goes to a store with is mom, sees "Tennis 64!" meh..... but throw mario in there: "Mario tennis!" OHMYGOD MOM MARIO TENNIS ME WANT SO BADDUUUHNNNNUNUNUNNUUUUNNNUHHH mario sells stuff, so they use him to sell games that would normally have nothing to do with mario. just because mario is in it, doesn't automatically mean it's a "Mario game." you also have to factor in the gameplay. if the gameplay is traditionally "un-mario," but mario is is still in it, it becomes a "spin-off game" like, if they made a "HALO Snowman building" game, you wouldn't consider it a true "Halo" game, it's a spinoff, using the popular Halo brand in order to sell a different product. ugh. the end.
  • FanofSaiyan - December 19, 2009 9:59 a.m.

    Was it really that shocking that Mario Kart would make the top slot? Of course not, that game sold millions!
  • FanofSaiyan - December 19, 2009 9:58 a.m.

    The music creater for Mario Paint is so awesome and complex. Wonder how Nintendo managed to fit that into the game?
  • zeetlock - November 5, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    does paper mario series count as spin-off?Because that was pretty awesome and i don't think it really counts as a traditional mario game
  • Cogglesz - October 11, 2008 10:54 p.m.

    Alot Of The Mario Games Shown Here Are Pretty Underated, Especially Mario Golf And Tennis, I Only Played It This Year Because It Looked Really Bad In My Opinion When The N64 Was The Kick Ass Console But I Was Highly Mistaken, Although I Still Don't Like DR. Mario, I Was Never A Fan Of Tetris, Even When Grandma Tried To Get Me To Play It On The SNES
  • katwood92 - October 29, 2008 12:07 a.m.

    I remember playing Mario as a kid with my brother and cousins (we couldn't even read it) on the SNES. I don't remember which one (it's somewhere...). Good times...
  • brothir - October 18, 2008 2:58 p.m.

    What about Super Smash?
  • cultofbananas - October 10, 2008 5:20 a.m.

    I have to agree on Mario Kart DS.. That game truly defines the Mario Kart series. I however LOVED the first Paper Mario for 64, it wasn't really that chatty when compared to the sequels. They should beef up the core game and rerelease it for the DS! Speaking of Mario + DS, where the heck is New Super Mario Bros 2?? I think we need some Yoshi this time around..
  • cricket0 - September 22, 2008 2:59 a.m.

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! 1st!!!Mario is cool and all, but he has strayed WAAAAAAAY 2 far from his roots. Its always "save Peach" or "collect all 120 stars just to play as luigi" or something. Even so, Super Mario Galaxy is still awesome.
  • Gsindahouse - May 29, 2009 8:29 p.m.

    Ha haaa! GOOD JOB!! You didn't miss Superstar Saga! I'll tell you that was a pretty decent game, you know. Not to mention 'Partners in Time' for the DS. Masterful RPGs, them both.
  • toadettefan37 - January 19, 2009 5:35 p.m.

    i love all the mario kart games! they did a good job! i havent played the SNES or the 64 in years!lol
  • thephntm - January 16, 2009 2:05 a.m.

    i wouldn't be suprised if soon there's Mario Ice Hockey. x_x'
  • GalenMarek - June 3, 2009 3:26 a.m.

    this list is SO WRONG!! Dr. Mario sucked. Mario Superstar Saga was definitely good but not better than Super Mario Galaxy. Mario Kart DS SO doesn't deserve first. First should be Galaxy, Brawl, or something. Don't get me wrong it was good but not that good.
  • leavemealone - March 26, 2009 6:36 p.m.

    Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga was HILARIOUS! I lol'ed thruout nearly the entire game. I'm not normally a fan of RPG's, but this game was so different. I also liked the fact that you don't have to fight random invisible characters, which I loathe doing. My only real problem with the game is its lack of replay vaule, like most RPG's. PS loved the Paper Mario tunes and Dr. Mario on the guitar was SWEET. But what's up with that guy's sideburns?:)
  • thephntm - January 16, 2009 2:07 a.m.

    also i agree w/ cultofbananas: we NEED NSMB2!

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